Institutionalise Consultancy Pharmacists In Public Health – PSN Urges FG

By Chioma Umeha
Pharmacists under the aegis of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) have called on the Federal Government and the other 35 states of the Federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to urgently integrate and inaugurate the Consultancy Pharmacist philosophy in the public health interest.
Making the call during press briefing ahead of the 89th annual national conference in Minna, Niger State from November 7 to 12, 2016, was the National President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Pharm Ahmed  Yakasai,  who noted that only Niger State has recognised this status.
Citing the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists definition, the PSN boss said a Consultant Pharmacist is “a Pharmacist who is paid to provide expert advice on the use of medications by individuals or within institutions, or on the provision of Pharmacy services to institutions.”
He further noted that definition implies that Consultant Pharmacists must have requisite expert knowledge; must be appointed and go through a structured selection process.
Yakasai also said that a Consultant Pharmacist must enjoy benefit of adequate remuneration.
Following unprecedented systemic failure in the health system, the PSN President, said it is critical to structure the position of Consultant Pharmacists around four major functions.
This include: Expert practice; research, evaluation and service development; education, mentoring and overview of practice; professional leadership and expert practice.
His words: “In view of the evolving hi-tech procedures in medicine therapy, the main purpose of the Consultant role is delivery of high-level professional expertise.
“The Consultant Pharmacist will drive professional development and play a pivotal role in the promotion of evidence based practice.
“The Consultant Pharmacist will demonstrate a high degree of professional autonomy, dealing with complex issues or situations including circumstances of considerable uncertainty.”
In view of Research, Education and Service Development, Yakasai said: “The Consultant Pharmacist will provide an essential clinical governance role by leading and contributing to audit, service evaluation, research, education and training.

“The Consultant Pharmacist helps to develop and strengthen links between research and practice. Ultimately the Consultant Pharmacist helps to increase capacity and to develop a workforce that is research oriented.”
Concerning education, mentoring and overview of pharmacy practice, the PSN boss maintained: “Consultant Pharmacist will play a key role in mentoring pharmacy personnel as well as contribute to Human Resource Development in the Health Sector. Engagement in Universities and teaching Hospitals will particularly promote this goal based on need assessment periodically.
“Consultant Pharmacist undertakes teaching in his area of competence thereby enhancing links between practice and professional bodies.”
In terms of professional leadership, he said: “Consultant Pharmacist will be effective leaders and communicators who motivate and inspire across the borders of various health specialties in the public and private sector.
“Consultant Pharmacist will appraise existing structures and prescribe needed organizational and professional barriers which inhibit service delivery.
“ The pool of expertise available to the Consultant Pharmacist will compel contribution to the development of service strategies which will drive change in health and social care.”
Similarly, the society urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that members are appointed to head relevant agencies such as the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN) and the Nigerian Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), insisting,  that this will guarantee better health care delivery in the country.
Yakasai said: “We reckon that it is the prerogative of the federal government to carry out appointments at PCN, NAFDAC, and NIPRD which are major agencies in the pharmaceutical Sector. Our concern is predicated in public interest especially in the value such appointments can b “Our first priority is to ensure lawful appointments on all pharmaceutical platforms because we certainly do not envisage or pray for the disruption in equilibrium we experienced at PCN when representatives of PSN was compromised due to a distasteful manipulation by an interested party in 2009. We once had the same scenario at NAFDAC which degenerated to a court action in another dispensation.”
Yakasai said to avoid an unpalatable discourse the PSN has since recommended its representatives to the Honourable Minister for Health as provided for in Section 3 (1) F of the PCN Act. He reminded the Federal Government that Section 1 of the PCN Act provides for perpetual succession which ordinarily should exclude the PCN from recurrent dissolution alongside other boards of parastatals.
Yakasai said it is therefore imperative that government appoints a chairman for the PCN as most of the other slots are statute bound by virtue of the law and that the Federal Government is also familiar more than ever before with the condition precedent to appoint substantive Director Generals (DGs)/Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) for NAFDAC and NIPRD.
The PSN President said NAFDAC is yet another strategic agency in the workings of the health sector in view of the need to continue to ensure a safety mandate in the quality of medicines and foods offered for sale in Nigeria.
He said government must appreciate that the management of NAFDAC led by a substantive Director General/Chief Executive Officer and the full governing council led by a seasoned chairman will play complimentary roles to consolidate some modest gains in the overall value chain the NAFDAC output epitomises and brings to bear on public health endeavours.